BATON ROUGE -- As the LSU track and field teams prepare for this weekend’s NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, 22 student-athletes were honored by the SEC on Monday as the league office announced its postseason awards for the outdoor season.
Headlining this year’s honorees were seniors Richard Thompson and Kelly Baptiste, who swept SEC Male and Female Outdoor Runner of the Year honors, while head coach Dennis Shaver was named the SEC Women’s Outdoor Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
Thompson has quickly become one of the more dominant sprinters at the collegiate level and has been rewarded with his first career SEC Male Runner of the Year honor.
He became the first LSU athlete since Byron Logan in 1998 and the first SEC athlete since Tyson Gay in 2004 to sweep 100-meter and 200-meter titles at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships back on May 18. Thompson also ran the second leg on the winning 4x100-meter relay team to give him three SEC titles for the meet.
His winning time of 9.93 seconds in the final of the 100-meter dash is a new SEC record and the second-fastest time in the history of collegiate track and field behind the NCAA record of 9.92 set by UCLA’s Ato Boldon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 1996.
In addition, Thompson is currently the second fastest sprinter in the world at 100 meters, trailing only the time of 9.76 recorded by professional sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica on May 3.
Not only did Thompson dominate the competition in the finals of the 100-meter dash, but he also blew away the field in the 200-meter final at the SEC Championships with an NCAA leading and new personal best time of 20.23, which ranks No. 3 on LSU’s all-time outdoor performance list. He enters the regional meet as the NCAA’s fastest man in both events.
After being named the SEC Female Indoor Runner of the Year during the indoor season, Baptiste continued her dominance in the sprints into the outdoor season as she won her first career SEC crown in the 100-meter dash with a winning time of 11.09 at the conference meet.
She also anchored the Lady Tigers to victory in the 4x100-meter relay as the squad set a new SEC Championships record with a time of 42.80 before finishing runner-up in the final of the 200-meter dash with a seasonal best time of 22.87. She led the way by scoring 18 individual points for the meet to help the Lady Tigers successfully defend their SEC Outdoor crown.
Baptiste has been on fire this season as she set a new personal best of 11.06 in her very first 100-meter race of the season at the Texas Relays on April 5.
Both Thompson and Baptiste have thrived under Shaver’s tutelage as the fourth-year head coach has been named the SEC Women’s Coach of the Year for the third straight time, which includes receiving the indoor honor earlier this season.
Shaver coached the Lady Tigers to their third straight SEC championship in dominating fashion at the SEC Outdoor Championships on May 18 as the squad has now won back-to-back SEC Outdoor titles to go along with their SEC Indoor crown back in March.
This marks the first time since 1996 that the Lady Tigers have swept SEC Indoor and Outdoor championships in the same season, while it is also the first time since 1990-91 that they have captured consecutive outdoor titles. The LSU women have now won a total of 21 SEC team titles since competing in their first conference meet in 1981.
In addition, 13 LSU athletes are First-Team All-SEC selections, while six have been named to the second-team and four more have been named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Selections to the All-SEC first-team and second-team are based on an athletes finish in individual events at the conference meet with SEC champions being named to the first-team and runners-up being named to the second-team. The highest freshman finisher in each event is considered a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team.
LSU’s First-Team All-SEC selections include Baptiste, Thompson, Juanita Broaddus (4x100), Samantha Henry (4x100), Armanti Hayes (4x100), Trindon Holliday (4x100), Elkana Kosgei (800), Deonna Lawrence (4x400), Brooklynn Morris (4x100), Gabriel Mvumvure (4x100), LaTavia Thomas (800, 4x400), Kayann Thompson (4x400) and Nickiesha Wilson (100 hurdles).
Brittani Carter (third, high jump), Brittany Hall (fifth, 800), Melissa Ogbourne (seventh, triple jump) and Zedric Thomas (seventh, triple jump) were recognized as member of the SEC All-Freshman Team for being the highest freshman finisher in their respective events.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers continue their march toward the NCAA Outdoor Championships this weekend as they travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the fifth time this season to compete in the 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships beginning Friday at John McDonnell Field. All athletes will be looking to punch their ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 11-14 at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.
2008 SEC Outdoor Track & Field Awards
Male Runner of the Year: Richard Thompson, LSU
Female Runner of the Year: Kelly Baptiste, LSU
Male Field Athlete of the Year: Cory Martin, Auburn
Female Field Athlete of the Year: Brittney Reese, Ole Miss
Male Freshman Runner of the Year: Johnny Dutch, South Carolina
Female Freshman Runner of the Year: Rebecca Lowe, Florida
Male Freshman Field Athlete of the Year: Joseph Berry, Tennessee
Female Freshman Field Athlete of the Year: Annie Alexander, Tennessee
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Jangy Addy, Tennessee
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Sarah Bowman, Tennessee
Male Coach of the Year: John McDonnell, Arkansas
Female Coach of the Year: Dennis Shaver, LSU
LSU’s First-Team All-SEC Selections